The Inner Workings of a Law Firm

The Inner Workings of a Law Firm

3 Contingencies That Should Be In Every Estate Plan

by Jo Rodriquez

Working with an estate planning attorney is about dealing with a host of possibilities, including death, incapacity, major medical decisions, and even physical disappearance. However, it's also important to think about the contingencies that can arise within the estate plan itself. Here are three scenarios you need to prepare for when you establish or modify a plan.

The Successorship of the Executor

It might sound like a royal title that no longer exists, but the successor to the executor is one of the most important contingencies to think about. Just as your goal in consulting with an estate planning attorney is to think about what could happen to you, it's also wise to consider what might happen to the executor.

Take the same list of possibilities that motivate your desire to create an estate plan. Now apply every one of those to the executor. Throw in the possibility that the executor might be unavailable for personal or business reasons, or they might be legally conflicted in a way you didn't anticipate.

Naming at least one successor guards against the risk that something happens to the executor. Possibly more importantly, it reduces the chances the court will appoint an administrator in the absence of one.

Something Happens to a Beneficiary

The same logic applies here. Just as something might happen to an executor, life may come fast at any of the named beneficiaries of an estate. There may be compelling reasons to not allow their stakes in the estate to devolve to descendants. For example, the beneficiary's descendants might be too young and have no one around to administer their interests. If the beneficiary is an organization, you should also consider what happens if it goes out of existence.

Similarly, you should think about what happens to a stake if there are no heirs to a beneficiary. Do you want the stake broken up among the remaining folks, or would you prefer it go to, for example, a non-profit agency?

Inability to Parse the Language of the Will

Even with the help of an estate planning attorney, there's always a risk that some part of your estate plan will be ambiguous, incomplete, or not executable. It's important to leave a plain sense of what your wishes are so an executor or a probate court can try to follow through on them. State your reasoning for particular provisions so they can still guide the process if there are concerns about the will.

To learn more, contact an estate planning attorney.


About Me

The Inner Workings of a Law Firm

We all know that lawyers are professionals who help people interpret and work with the law, but do you know how a law firm works from the inside out? I am a professional paralegal, and I have worked in both large and small law firms during my career. I can tell you that a successful law firm needs more than just lawyers to keep it running smoothly, and sometimes things can get really crazy! Take a tour through a law firm in my blog, and find out what really goes on behind the scenes of an active and successful law firm.